Broadband Crucial for Small Businesses

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The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) has published a report this week on the current and future connectivity requirements of small businesses. The research found that whilst median downstream demand for small business premises will rise from 5Mbit/s in 2015 to 8.1Mbit/s in 2025 demand for the 95th percentile will rise from 12.9 Mbit/s to 41.1 Mbit/s.

Broadband connectivity is crucial for small businesses, contributing to increasing their productivity and innovation, yet their connectivity needs are not well understood. The report, produced by Communications Chambers, aims at informing the debate SMEs broadband needs.

In reflecting the diversity of small businesses, the report found that their bandwidth needs (downstream and upstream) are as varied as their composition. Unsurprisingly the number of employees and industrial sector are important factors in driving demand with the report ranging from one person food manufacturers – requiring just 6 Mbit/s downstream in 2025 – to a 49 person software business which will require 193 Mbit/s by 2025.

Matthew Evans, CEO of the Broadband Stakeholder Group commented: “This report greatly adds to our understanding of small businesses connectivity requirements. Although standard broadband is adequate for most firms, some firms are already constrained. All small businesses will need access to superfast speeds in the next five years, and large numbers will soon need the ultrafast speeds that the Government committed to delivering in the recent Productivity Plan.”

As a result of the report’s conclusions, the BSG has called on Government to; work with industry to ensure that all small business premise have superfast connectivity, continue to drive down costs of network deployment to facilitate the further deployment of ultrafast networks and gather evidence on the productivity gains that companies who have used the SME Voucher Connection Scheme.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine